heyy.. ive written this essay on Lady Macbeth, mainly focusing on Act 1, Scene 5.. can u tell me how to improve? n wht grade would it be for the GCSE 9-1.. thanks!
Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth primarily as a powerful and dominating woman, however, contrasts that with subtle juxtapositions that undermine her supposed power, perhaps hinting at her later demise. In act 1 scene 5, Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth describing his encounter with the witches. Lady Macbeth becomes convinced by the witches prophecies but worries that Macbeth is too kind natured to perpetrate regicide. Hence she defies the contemporary fear of witchcraft and summons evil 'spirits' to "unsex me here". Supernatural forces are reintroduced, with Lady Macbeth calling on them to possess her and withdraw her femininity. Lady Macbeth's association with the supernatural violates her expected role as a domesticated and passive woman; she is immediately going against all socially accepted norms, adhering to gothic conventions.
In addition, the imperative verb 'unsex' highlights her strength and determination. Besides, the language suggests that her womanhood/femininity, represented by her 'breasts' and 'milk', impedes her from performing acts of cruelty. Thus, she wants to obtain more masculine attributes to become more savage, allowing her to commit evil. Alternatively, at times her language devolves into almost chanting, alluding to the spell-casting of the witches and therefore also suggesting that she has some form of mystical power as well. This would shock the contemporary audience as Lady Macbeth is the antithesis of the stereotypical woman during the Jacobean Era.
Furthermore, adding to Lady Macbeth's unconventional nature, she is very controlling over Macbeth. As Lady Macbeth reiterates that Macbeth is 'too full o'the milk of human-kindness, she deviously proclaims to Macbeth that he should "look like the innocent flower", which she refers to looking harmless. The image of a flower expresses innocence and delicacy when juxtaposed with "but be the serpent under't", which carries connotations of evil and cruelty.
This emphasises the reversal of the stereotypical roles in marriage during the Jacobean Era. Lady Macbeth manipulates and takes control, giving orders and looks down on Macbeth as if you were to look down on a flower; which insinuates Lady Macbeth's dominance in their relationship. The noun 'serpent' is an evil reptile and it evinces Lady Macbeth's devious nature. This is also an illusion to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, who were tempted by the evil reptile to defy God by consuming a forbidden fruit.
Moreover, Eve was tempted by the serpent which led Adam astray, the same way Lady Macbeth will lead Macbeth astray. This could also foreshadow Macbeth's failure in getting the throne, in the way Adam and Eve descended from the garden of Eden. Besides, Adam and Eve fall from God's grace for going against him, this is an evident link to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they go against the divine rights of beings, resulting in their downfall (punishment from God).
In conclusion, Shakespeare explores the themes of power through Lady Macbeth, as she demands spirits to summon up male traits, implores them to make her remorseless, and encourages Macbeth to be manipulative and conniving.
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How is Lady Macbeth presented in the play Macbeth? watch
- Thread Starter
- 10-10-2018 22:37
- 13-10-2018 13:04
What went well: you have demonstrated great knowledge in terms of techniques, links and historical context. - as well as included A01,02,03.Even better if: I would try add more key themes into the play, like gender, the supernatural, appearance and reality - just so it is evident what the quotations are exploitingOverall, I would award this essay a grade 7/8, as you have covered a good amount. And as for the mark, probably 25/30 and 4/4 for spag.
- Community Assistant
- 15-10-2018 23:18
this is a good essay; you've used terminology well and it flows quite nicely to read. analysis is good, and you link well to context when needed. i'd try perhaps covering more scenes in the play and looking at other themes or exploring the ones you've covered here in greater detail eg. perhaps looking at the scene where she's hallucinating blood on her hands.
- 16-10-2018 02:10